Slate has an article written by a guy who goes around with a laser scanner attached to an old PDA that he uses to scan used books and check the going market rate for them. It’s called, “Confessions of a used-book salesman.”
The old-fashionedness of my PDA echoes the marginality of the work I do. I rely on a technological castoff to search through other people’s castoff merchandise. Thrift stores and even library book sales often present books jumbled in boxes on the floor. I root through these. If there’s another guy scanning near me—a competitor—I go faster. (And it’s almost always a guy, notwithstanding the pair of redheaded, cheerleader-type twins I see at book sales around Chicago.)
It’s an intriguing way to make a living. Oh yeah, it’s tiring, too; he works 80 hours a week.